Daimler Acquires Ten Percent Stake in Tesla

As Tesla is looking for money to fund development, German carmaker Daimler bought a 10-percent equity stake of the California-based electric vehicle manufacturer.

Daimler and Tesla have been working together to integrate Tesla’s lithium-ion battery packs and charging electronics into the Smart ForTwo. Daimler said its stake in Tesla will allow the companies to collaborate even more closely on the development of battery systems, electric drive systems and other vehicle projects.

“Our strategic partnership is an important step to accelerate the commercialization of electric drives globally,” said Thomas Weber, Daimler’s head of research. Tesla currently is the only automaker to sell a highway-capable electric vehicle in North America and Europe.

“We are looking forward to a strategic cooperation in a number of areas including leveraging Daimler’s engineering, production and supply chain expertise,” said Tesla CEO and owner Elon Musk. “This will accelerate bringing our Tesla Model S [sedan] to production.”

Of particular interest to Tesla is Daimler’s lithium-ion pouch-cell battery. Daimler begins building the Smart ForTwo ED (Electric Drive) later this year for testing programs in Germany and Italy. This is the beginning of Daimler’s electric drive program, as it looks to become a leader in the industrialization of lithium-ion technology.

In addition to the Smart ED, Daimler is starting limited production of the Mercedes-Benz B-class with a hydrogen fuel-cell drive system later this year. The company plans to introduce the first battery-powered Mercedes-Benz in 2010 and is planning to equip all Mercedes and Smart electric vehicles with in-house developed and produced lithium-ion batteries by 2012.

Source: Automotive News

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